The town of Morzine-Avoriaz with its two resorts (Morzine and Avoriaz 1800) is delighted to announce that it has been awarded the Flocon Vert sustainability label. The recognition comes after an extensive process, lasting over a year, in which local businesses, tourism organisations and the Town Halls of both French mountain resorts submitted a joint bid. The accolade, which is awarded by the European organisation Mountain Riders, recognises destinations that demonstrate a commitment to a sustainable development policy. To date, only eight other destinations have been awarded the Flocon Vert label since its inception in 2011. The label is issued based on compliance with 20 criteria divided into four themes: local economy, social & cultural, governance & destination, and environment & natural resources.
The bid process began with an analysis of the existing environmental actions and schemes in both resorts, detailing the positives and identifying areas for improvement. The two tourist offices then worked together with local stakeholders to put into place a new joint strategy for sustainable development. The plan set out several ambitious initiatives, including changes to the urban planning process, the introduction of greener public transport systems, the creation of new pedestrian areas, traffic reduction measures, actions to help local business become greener, the improvement of walking and cycling routes, and a commitment to reduce the amount of waste created. The Flocon Vert committee approved the strategy and has been monitoring the progress made by the bid teams in Morzine and Avoriaz, with a final audit conducted in January 2021. It is with excitement and pride that the label has now been awarded in recognition of these efforts, which will continue in earnest and evolve in the years and decades ahead. The official ceremony will be held in Morzine-Avoriaz on 9 September 2021.
The neighbouring resorts of Morzine and Avoriaz are in the Portes du Soleil, the world’s oldest cross-border ski and summer mountain destination, which covers the Alpine regions of French Chablais and Swiss Valais. Avoriaz is a purpose-built resort that has been a favourite with skiers for half a century, with four terrain parks, excellent powder and a wide range of sporting facilities. Built on a sunny shelf high above Morzine, Avoriaz is at an altitude of 1,800m, meaning great snow fall and plenty of sunshine. The resort is fully pedestrianised, with either horse and cart or state-of-the-art electric snowmobiles being the most eco-friendly (and stylish) way to travel around. With modern, sustainable architecture throughout, Avoriaz has always had a reputation for being a green destination, and recent upgrades to the energy infrastructure means several hotels and other commercial buildings now use renewable power, while new waste management schemes have proved extremely successful.
In contrast, Morzine offers Old-World charm, remaining free of high-rise buildings with many original wooden chalets still in service. Situated at a lower altitude, the resort has a traditional village feel with boutique hotels, independent shops and a weekly market featuring local produce. During the winter, Morzine welcomes winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world, thanks to its world class snow conditions and superb ski facilities. Come the summer months, Morzine becomes a Mecca for all things outdoor, with the option to go paragliding, rock climbing, fishing, horse riding, canyoning and more. There are two environmental protections zones in the Morzine ski area, the Lac de Joux Plane and the Col de Joux Plane, where native wildlife can thrive, free of human interference. Additionally, several sections of ski lift cable in both Morzine and Avoriaz have been equipped with high-visibility markers, in an effort to reduce the number of bird collisions on the pistes. What’s more, new environmentally friendly grooming machines have been brought into operation on the slopes of Morzine and Avoriaz, meaning less air and sound pollution.
Morzine based, not for profit organisation Montagne Verte existed prior to the Flocon Vert bid and works to reduce the environmental impact caused by residents, visitors and businesses in the resort. Their goal is to encourage everyone to get involved, by providing all the information needed to help people be greener and to make environmentally friendly options more accessible. This includes collaborating with local businesses in a drive to use more sustainable suppliers and engaging with the community through regular events and workshops. As a result, most accommodation providers in Morzine now use eco-friendly cleaning products, with many opting for locally sourced materials and an increasing number growing their own food.
Morzine and Avoriaz have been awarded the ‘SafeGuard’ label by the Bureau Veritas France, which provides a guarantee that both resort respects the protective sanitary protocols put in place by the authorities and those recommended by the World Health Organisation, while also ensuring appropriate COVID-19 training for hospitality workers. Several reassuring health and safety measures are in place, allowing holidaymakers to make the most of their time away, but the ski lifts, which during the warmer months are used by hikers and bikers, are operating at 100% capacity.
Go to Morzine
The delightful four-star Hotel Neige et Roc in Morzine-Avoriaz is well-situated for easy access to both resort centres. A seven-night stay in a double room, during the 2021/22 ski season, is priced from £594 pp based on two people sharing. Return flights from London Luton to Geneva with EasyJet this winter are priced from £47 pp.
Hotel Neige et Roc (+33 450790321, www.neige-roc.com)